5 Common Causes of IT Hardware Failures to Watch Out For

Even the most minor IT hardware failure can disrupt your operations and cause major problems for your business.

Any downtime could make it impossible for your team to complete key tasks, deliver products or services on time, and perform to the standards clients expect. This may affect the way in which they perceive your business and prompt them to try one of your competitors instead.

It may not always be possible to prevent IT hardware failures but understanding what triggers them can help. Join us as we explore five of the most common hardware failures causes to watch out for.

Exposure to extreme temperatures

You could increase the risk of damaging your IT infrastructure if you expose your computers, hard drives, servers, etc. to extreme temperatures. Too much heat may affect your equipment’s performance to a noticeable degree and cause productivity issues.

They may even break down — and any data stored inside could be lost forever.

That doesn’t mean you should keep your office and server room freezing cold. But you should aim to maintain room temperature to maximize your IT hardware’s performance, up to 27 degrees Celsius.

If the mercury climbs a little higher? There’s no need to panic until it reaches well above 30 degrees. Your hardware is unlikely to stop working immediately, but you might notice a change in its functionality.

Depending on your location, you may need to invest in quality climate control to maintain room temperature in your building. This can lead to added expense over time — but it’s unlikely to be close to the cost of significant downtime.

It’s also crucial to keep hardware out of direct sunlight and in a space with plenty of airflow around it. Avoid cramming equipment into tight spots where they may overheat sooner.

Ineffective cleaning routines

It’s easy to overlook cleaning in a small business environment, especially during your busiest periods. What difference does a little dust make? Why not put it off until you have the time and money to bring a professional cleaner in to rejuvenate the office?

Well, dust accumulation is a common cause of IT hardware failures. And it’s also one of the easiest to prevent.

Dust can get inside equipment, clog cooling fans, and block air vents. This can make it harder for computers or servers to manage internal heat created by its components. These may overheat, become damaged, and cause a crash.

You might not realize that your hardware is coated with dust or that the air is thick with particles until it affects performance. That’s why it’s so important to take cleaning seriously.

A thorough cleaning routine should help to reduce the amount of dust gathering on your hardware. Encourage staff to carefully wipe their computers down regularly to prevent dust accumulation, even if they can’t see it.

You may also want to hire a professional technician to clean inside your hardware safely from time to time.

Human error caused by poor training

We all make mistakes. Accidents happen. But no matter how genuine it may be, human error can cause severe IT hardware failures.

This could be something as simple as spilling water on a device and damaging its internal components. Or it could be a little more complex and expensive to fix, such as downloading an attachment infected with malware (the average cost of downtime due to a ransomware attack in Canada was $180,000 in 2019, for example).

Whatever the specifics, human error may be due to a lack of training rather than negligence. Some employees may be inexperienced with IT equipment and have no understanding of what they should or shouldn’t do when handling it.

Think carefully about the type of issues staff may run into when creating a training program. This could focus on technical operation, such as:

  • How to install software safely
  • How to close down a computer properly to avoid data loss
  • How to keep computers free of dust and dirt
  • How to recognize key performance issues (e.g. overheating, outdated drivers)

You may want to consider cybersecurity training too. This might include:

  • How to identify phishing emails
  • What to do if you suspect a system is infected
  • Who to contact in an emergency
  • Who is responsible for handling a cybersecurity incident

Lack of performance checks and maintenance

Regular maintenance is key for avoiding IT hardware failure.

This encompasses multiple steps, including:

  • Using a diagnostic tool to identify technical issues that could affect equipment performance
  • Scanning for viruses or other threats
  • Cleaning hardware with a damp cloth to remove dust and other debris that could lead to overheating
  • Check temperature (in office and server room) to protect equipment from overheating

These are just a few ideas that can help you stay on top of your hardware’s condition and performance. You may prefer to contact IT specialists offering professional cleaning and maintenance services if you’re uncertain about handling it yourself.

Technology overdue for a replacement

You’ve used the same computers and servers for years now. You’ve never experienced any major technical problems in that time. So why should you consider updating or replacing equipment?

Because outdated hardware is more likely to:

  • Crash
  • Create security weaknesses
  • Harm productivity with slow performance
  • Lead to compliance issues

Yes, you might not like the prospect of replacing your equipment and overhauling your IT infrastructure, but it’s more cost-effective and safer than taking your chances with outmoded technology.

GenX’s IT infrastructure services can help you achieve a stronger, more secure, more efficient hardware configuration. We can:

  • Update aging hardware in your IT back office
  • Install virtual environments
  • Improve your infrastructure to comply with Government of Ontario Information Technology standards
  • Install new hardware and software to maximize your technical capabilities

Watch out for these common causes of IT hardware failures to reduce your business’s risk of damaging downtime and unnecessary expenses in the future.

To learn more about our IT infrastructure services and how we can help you, contact our team now!

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